Research Programmes

Duration of Candidature

University education at NUS is demanding, intensive, and rigorous, and thus requires a high degree of commitment.

Research candidates pursuing full-time studies are expected to commit themselves to at least 40 hours per week of study. The University does not encourage full-time students from taking up employment during term time that might interfere with their studies.

All candidates should note that commitments from employment will not be accepted as valid reasons for absence, uncompleted work, or poor performance, and may lead to exclusion from certain full-time programme. 

The maximum periods of candidature for both full-time and part-time candidates are the same.



: 36 months


: 60 months



Residency Requirement

Candidates must meet a minimum residency requirement. The candidate must spend a period of residence in Singapore for a minimum of six months for the Masters degree and 18 months for the PhD degree during his or her candidature.

Periods of study leave and overseas fieldwork do not count towards residency.

Please note that candidates who are awarded NUS scholarships must reside in Singapore during the duration of the scholarship award unless approval is granted otherwise.



English Language Requirement

FASS candidates who are required to take the Diagnostic English Test (DET), will either be placed in a graduate English module, or be exempted from taking the modules altogether, depending on your performance in the DET. As indicated in the offer letter, registration for this test can be made online through this website. You must register to sit for the DET for graduate students during the period given in the offer letter. This test is conducted twice a year (normally in January and August) by the Centre for English Language Communication of the University.

There are three Graduate English Courses for graduate students namely, Basic Level Writing Course (ES5000), Intermediate Level Writing Course (ES5001A) and Advanced Level Thesis Writing Course (ES5002). You will be recommended for the appropriate course depending on your DET result.

The graduate English modules are usually conducted twice a week, two hours each time, for a total of four hours per week. Satisfactory attendance and progress are expected. Your performance in the graduate English modules is an important factor in determining whether you are progressing satisfactorily in your candidature.

If you are required to take the Graduate English modules and you are a Masters student, you are required to achieve an intermediate level of proficiency. If you are a PhD student, or have upgraded your candidature to PhD, you are required to achieve an advanced level of proficiency. This is with the exception of PhD students from the Department of Chinese Studies who are required to achieve an intermediate level of proficiency.

Students who are required to take the graduate English modules at intermediate level are required to obtain satisfactory grades (at least grade C) within two years of their candidature. Students who are required to take the graduate English module at advanced level are expected to take it in the sixth semester of their candidature and obtain a satisfactory grade (at least grade C).